You need to put yourself first


Mercy Burns, Staff Writer

Self-love is extremely important, it motivates positive behavior and reduces harm to yourself, but in order to put yourself first you have to learn the skills that it takes to put your own needs and feelings into account even if it means upsetting another. Tell yourself, it is okay to say no in situations where you are feeling uncomfortable or are facing disagreement. For example, if somebody is asking you to do something where you would not feel safe, the answer should always be no, go in the other direction, and move on. It will be hard to do at first, but as all things do, it will get easier. 

Brené Brown, who has researched self-love says, “Taking care of yourself is the pathway to fulfillment and to high performance in work and in life. And, just as importantly, it’s a gift to others.” An important life skill is to make sure you choose the right path for yourself, not the right path for anyone else. 

For example, you and your friend Zara are applying for college. Zara wants to go to Wayne State University, but you want to go to University of Michigan. Zara will be upset if you go to a different college, but Michigan is your dream school, so what should you do? Talk to your friend and explain the situation, if she does not understand, think about what is best for you. Go to the college you want to go to. You have to choose the things that are best for you. 

Many people will disagree, they will say it is selfish to put yourself above others, especially when women put themselves first, as seen in the article, Why Women Put Others’ Happiness Before Their Own by Winona Dimeo-Ediger. In this article, she talks about how women are expected to nurture and please the people around them, seen when she explains, “We pour our energy into other people, focusing on their needs and wants while ignoring our own. Sometimes this feels good and natural; sometimes it feels exhausting, but for many (or perhaps most) of us, it’s a way of life.”

People expect you to put others’ needs and wants above your own, but what they don’t know is that the intention of putting yourself first is not to hurt others, it is to help yourself. Putting others’ needs and feelings before your own has been proven to cause great stress and risk of depression associated with neurotic tendencies that can promote negative life outcomes, this is because it leads to your own wants and needs not to be fulfilled in the end. 

In most cases you have to do what is best for yourself. It will not always be a simple situation, and the right thing to do may not always be clear at the time, which is why it is known as a skill that has to be learned and mastered.